Rocky View County’s (RVC) Division 1 councillor has announced he will not seek re-election in the upcoming municipal election, after serving one term as the representative for Bragg Creek and area.
Mark Kamachi penned his announcement in his April column for the High Country News, a monthly periodical that serves Bragg Creek, Redwood Meadows and other communities southeast of Calgary. He wrote that as a councillor, a full-time business owner and part-time teacher, he has reached a point where he cannot manage all three positions with equal fervour.
“If knew then what I knew now, I probably would have never thrown my hat in the ring,” Kamachi said in an interview with the Rocky View Weekly. “Part of the reason I wanted to join as a councillor was because of the brand RVC had.”
In addition to his role on council, Kamachi is the owner of AdMaki Creative – an advertising design and digital communications company in Bragg Creek. As a small-business owner, he said he had noticed the number of hurdles that had to be cleared in order to do some simple construction in the hamlet, which is what motivated him to run in 2017.
He said the previous Division 1 councillor and a number of others encouraged him to run, with the hope he could inspire change.
“Once I became a part of the machine, the people I was blaming when I first got into the position were administration,” he said. “I then found out it wasn’t administration – it’s council that had its challenges.”
He said his time as a councillor has been an awakening. While he loved being on boards and connecting with the community, he said people can be “nasty.” Throughout his sole term, RVC underwent a series of crises, legal battles and other controversies surrounding council members.
Kamachi said most of his respect in terms of County operations is geared toward the chief administrative officer and the County’s staff for the hard work they do.
“Thank God, at least from my perspective, they are the experts,” he said. “I wish I had been filming since day one – I’d have a great movie.”
Kamachi said to be a successful councillor, you have to develop a thick skin.
“The County is a business, we are talking about taxpayer dollars we are responsible for,” he said. “It takes a special type of person to do this job.”
Of all the things a councillor deals with on a daily basis, Kamachi said he will most miss learning about governance and how a municipality operates.
“I have learned so much there,” he said. “If it weren’t for all of the high school playground stuff going on, I would almost do this again.”
While there are still six months until the next municipal election in October, a parting message from Kamachi included urging more RVC residents to get out and vote.
“More residents have to understand how a municipality operates,” Kamachi said. “It’s always the same people that are against everything that comes to council. People have to get out and vote. If we are only getting a 30 per cent turnout, that is not enough.”